Tourists love landmarks. But they often destroy them by accident. Because tourists are, after all, people. And people are bumbling idiots. Check out all these landmarks that have been destroyed (or at least horrifically damaged) by tourists...
Duckbill (Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, Pacific City, Oregon)
Some A-hole tourists purposefully knocked over Duckbill, an iconic sandstone "hoodoo" rock formation in Oregon. What they didn’t realize is they were being filmed. According to the person who filmed them, the vandals claimed the iconic rock was a safety hazard, but the onlooker said they laughed the whole time as they destroyed it. They were never caught.
Saint Michael Statue (Lisbon, Portugal)
An idiot tourist checking out the Saint Michael statue in the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon tried to take a selfie which, as you can see, did not go well. He backed up too far, knocking the statue to the ground and shattering it. Experts said the damage done to the statue was irreparable.
Paolo Porpora Painting (Taipai, Taiwan)
A 12-year-old boy visiting a Taipei art museum accidentally tripped in front of a $1.5 million painting and punched a hole in it when he fell. Luckily for the boy, the museum was actually super understanding, saying insurance would cover the repairs. "This is just a simple accident," officials said in a statement. "Please don’t blame a 12-year-old child." They even planned to invite the boy to volunteer with them for a day.
Ancient Rock Formation (Goblin Valley State Park, Utah)
Three Boy Scout leaders toppled a 200-million-year-old rock formation and posted video of the destruction on Facebook. The three unbelievably dumb donkeys justified destroying the prehistoric formation by claiming they were protecting children who might walk underneath the boulder and be crushed by it. Boy Scouts of America issued a statement against the men. A judge sentenced the idiots to probation and a few grand in fines.
Ecce Homo Fresco (Borja, Spain)
A fresco of Jesus painted in the Sanctuary of Mercy church in Borja, Spain, in 1930 by Elías García Martínez was wearing away, so amateur art restorer Cecilia Giménez took it upon herself to "fix" it. The result was compared to a "blurry potato" and a "monkey." Though at first the "restoration" of the minor work seemed like a disaster, the hilarious result has caused a tourist boom and led to brisk sales of all sorts of souvenirs.
Dom Sebastiao Statue (Lisbon, Portugal)
What is it with clumsy idiots taking selfies with statues in Lisbon? Here's the 2016 tale of a man who tried to take a picture with the Dom Sebastiao statue. He climbed onto the pedestal the statue sits upon, attempted to take a selfie and knocked the statue over. It crashed and shattered all over the ground. He was arrested, the idiot.
The Little Mermaid (Copenhagen, Denmark)
One of the most vandalized landmarks in the world, Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue has been painted, dismembered and even beheaded. The statue was commissioned in 1909 and was beheaded in 1964. Drunks cut her arm off and returned it two days later.
The Little Mermaid (Copenhagen, Denmark)
She's been blown up and was once found floating in the harbor. She’s been painted twice in 2017 alone, decked out in a burqa and given a sex toy to hold. She was even once banned by Facebook for violating nudity guidelines. Think she regrets wishing so hard to be part of our world?
Drunken Satyr Statue (Milan, Italy)
Yet another moron broke this Drunken Satyr statue at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. Luckily, the statue was only a copy of the original. Still, the idiot who destroyed it didn't know that. They climbed onto the statue, breaking its leg off. Why would anyone climb a statue in a museum? You should know by now: they were trying to take a selfie.
Pont des Arts Love Locks (Paris, France)
The famous “love lock bridge” in Paris was dismantled in 2015. For years, tourists attached padlocks representing relationships to the bridge, but parts of the bridge started crumbling under the weight. Locks are now removed regularly as visitors continue the tradition.
Mossy Hill (Nesjavallaleið, Iceland)
One of Iceland’s beautiful hills was spotted with a naughty phrase carved into the moss. Visitors wrote “SEND NUDES” and got away with it. The trend was started years ago by an Icelandic man who carved his name into the moss, but copycats have popped up in recent years.
Brúarfoss Waterfall (Brekkuskógur, Iceland)
Another iconic Iceland landmark overrun by tourists to the point of near destruction is the Brúarfoss waterfall. With the island nation’s Instagram appeal, more and more vacationers were visiting the falls for photos, damaging untouched ground and tree roots. In 2018, the landowners finally closed the walking path to the waterfall, essentially barring public access.
Stonehenge (Wiltshire, England)
Stonehenge is the most-visited tourist attraction in Britain outside London, but visitors are not allowed to get close to the stones and must stand behind ropes. Twice a year, though, tourists can enter the inner circle. During the winter and summer solstices, visitors watch the sunrise among the stones. And guess what happens when all those idiots tourists show up…
Stonehenge (Wiltshire, England)
In 2013, tourists stuck chewing gum to some of the Stonehenge stones during solstice. A few stones were painted with graffiti. Some stones had oil dripped on them. One group of visitors even tried to set the stones on fire. Vomit, urine and feces were found. In recent years, security efforts have been bumped up, including armed police on patrol.
'Hypercaine' by Simon Birch (Los Angeles, California)
Here's another work of art ruined by a selfie-taker. In 2017, a woman tried taking a selfie with artist Simon Birch's work in Los Angeles. She lost her balance and fell against one of the pedestals in the piece, which fell against the one behind it. The entire row of pedestals toppled like dominoes, causing $200,000 of damage. But good job blowing up your Instagram, lady.
Tree of Ténéré (Sahara Desert, Niger)
The Tree of Ténéré was the most isolated tree on the planet for 300 years. It was the only tree for 250 miles. But in 1973, a driver, rumored to be drunk, drove a truck into the tree, snapping its trunk and killing it. Today, a monument to the tree stands in the place where it used to be.
Michaelangelo’s Pieta (Rome, Italy)
In 1972, a man named Laszlo Toth hit the Pieta in Vatican Square with a hammer 12 times. He knocked off an arm, a hand and smashed up her face. It took over five months, but a team restored the statue. She now sits behind bulletproof glass.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Bermeo, Spain)
This Spanish island features a little church dedicated to John the Baptist, but fans of the TV series "Game of Thrones" know it as Dragonstone, the seat of House Baratheon. The large castle that's seen in this location on the show isn't really there; it's added digitally in post-production. But that hasn't stopped tourists from visiting in droves. And it's ruining the landmark. Authorities worry that the ancient ground can't withstand so many feet.
Authorities in Venice worry that hordes of tourists from budget airlines and cruise ships are ruining the floating city. Hotels are pushing out homes and young locals can no longer afford to live or manage business there. Officials may limit the number of people who enter each day.
Lion Rock (Bermuda)
Bermuda’s Lion Rock was a natural landmark and a major tourist attraction. In the fall of 2017, the new owners of the land on which Lion Rock sat demolished the landmark, beheading the iconic, lion-shaped formation and cutting a chunk of rock off its leg. One local compared the loss of Lion Rock to the infamous loss of Cecil the Lion.
Ancient Sandstone Coffin (Southend, England)
A historic coffin on display at the Prittlewell Priory Museum in Southend, Essex, England, was broken in August 2017 by a small child. And can you guess how it happened? Of course you can. A couple of screaming morons put their kid in the 800-year-old coffin for a photo. Part of it fell over, and a section fell off. Luckily, authorities reported it would be easy to repair.
Seiyun Palace (Hadramout, Yemen)
The Seiyun Palace is a mansion crafted from mud in a mud architectural center. It was not refurbished in over a decade and was therefore in rough condition. Cracks keep appearing in the walls and officials worry that the structure will crumble to the ground.
Racetrack Playa (Death Valley National Park, California)
An SUV tore up the fragile landscape on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa. Someone swerved wildly, leaving 10 miles of tire tracks. Officials said the perpetrator was “someone out for a joyride.”
King Tut’s Tomb (Valley of the Kings, Egypt)
In 2014, officials closed King Tut’s tomb to the public. Years of tourism was damaging the tomb as moisture from visitor’s breath caused the tomb to deteriorate. Tourists can now instead visit a replica tomb nearby.
Mount Everest (China/Nepal)
Mount Everest is so crowded at times that lines to climb to the summit are two hours long. Climbers pass by trash, rubble from abandoned camps and human excrement. Even worse, sometimes they witness corpses of climbers who never made it back down the mountain.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
During a tour of a cave in the Guizhou province of China, one tourist decided to leave his group in search of a souvenir. Attempting to break apart a 50cm stalagmite with three swift kicks, the man was only able to break off a 30cm tip. Similar incidents have also been reported in the Shandong and Liaoning providences.
Regarded as one of "the most Instagrammable art installations" of 2017, Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrored Room" featuring dozens of glowing pumpkins suffered a small misfortune when a distracted tourist tripped into one of the sculptures which is worth roughly $800,000. The incident caused the installation, housed at the Hirshorn Museum in Washington D.C, to temporarily close for three days.
Fill In the Blanks
A woman visiting the Neues Museum in Nuremberg, Germany misinterpreted an installation's "Insert Words" request and began filling in the empty spaces in the crossword-inspired "Reading-work-piece" by Arthur Koepcke. Estimated to cost $89,000, the damage to the piece-done in permanent pen- is believed to be reversible. When confronted about her reasoning behind the act, the tourist simply stated she was following the artwork's instructions.
The mythological hero Hercules has suffered quite a lot since his Disney days. In Cremona, Italy, two tourists attempting to take a selfie climbed the "Statue of Two Hercules" and broke off part of the crown atop the coat of arms. Another statue located in Arcachon, France has been the target of vandals whose constant theft of the demigod's "manhood" has led the city to create for him a "detachable penis."
Torn to Shreds
Creating a massive optical illusion using only strips of paper, French installation artist JR was able to transform the Musee du Louvre into a stunning work of art. Sadly, due to the fragile nature of the piece, many tourists ripped off fragments of it to take home while frequent foot-traffic contributed to its gradual degradation.
A Sponge Out of Water
The Paris Catacombs are a thrill-seeker's dream when it comes to exploring the creepy unknown. Home to nearly six thousand human remains, the site was temporarily closed to visitors due to vandals scattering bones across the designated walking paths. The site has also been targeted by numerous graffiti artists; one piece left behind being a mural of Spongebob Squarepants.
Curiosity Killed the… Fox
An hour into the LEGO Expo in Ningbo, China, one troublesome tot decided to push over a sculpture of Nick Wilde from "Zootopia" created from $15,000 worth of LEGO pieces. The artist, Zhao, had spent three days and nights painstaking gluing each piece only to have his creation shattered in a matter of mere seconds after the curious child climbed underneath the security ropes. The artist declined the parents offer to reimburse him for the damage but emphasized the security staff's lack of supervision during the incident.
CCTV video caught one of the most disturbing acts of vandalism when it captured two young boys pulling apart an installation piece by Shelly Xue titled "Angel is Waiting." Instead of reprimanding their unruly children, both parents took out their cellphones and began recording the incident. The piece, which took 27 months to create, was so heavily damaged that instead of rebuilding it, Xue decided to let it remain in its ruined state and renamed the piece "Broken." The revamped installation at the Shanghai Museum of Glass is accompanied by a screen that plays the footage on loop.
The Denver Museum became the site of a bizarre incident when an 18-year old tourist began furiously rampaging through an exhibition titled "Stampede: Animals in Art" and began breaking sculptures. In total, ten artworks were destroyed and one gallery space had to be closed for repairs. No reason has ever been provided for the man's usual behavior.
Tripped Up Tourist
One man's untied shoes led to the collapse of artifacts from a major Chinese dynasty. In January 2006, Nick Flynn was visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge when he became lost and tried to correct his mistake while climbing a flight of stairs. Losing his balance and finding no railing to prevent his fall, Flynn accidentally swung at three Qing Dynasty vases that were on display nearby that had previously been left undisturbed for almost 60 years. After a lengthy restoration process, the vases were put back on display the following year.
A Golden Shower
La Barcaccia fountain in Rome became the target for drunk Dutch soccer fans when a match ended in a 1-1 draw. The group made their way to the monument and proceeded to urinate into empty beer bottles before hurling them at the fountain. Twenty-three of the vandals were arrested and each given a $50,000 fine while the mayor angrily tweeted that the beloved city had been "devastated and wounded" by their horrendous actions.
Uluru (aka Ayer's Rock) in Australia has become a literal wasteland thanks to millions of international tourists with no means of properly relieving themselves. Over the years, the majestic rock has become subjected to enough excrement to kill off an entire fairy shrimp species that once inhabited the rock's small pools of water. The rock is also considered a sacred site for the Indigenous Anangu people whose culture states individuals must take ownership of the actions, both right and wrong.
Lending a Hand
Located in one of the driest places on Earth, the "Hand of the Desert" has attracted tourists to the Atacama Desert for years. Created in 1992, the sculpture is meant to "showcase the helplessness of the human condition." Frequently targeted by spray-painting vandals, a group of Antofagasta people meet twice a year to scrub off the profanity and drawings left behind.
Sleeping with the Fishes
In 2016, three drunk men laid waste to the Devil's Hole in Death Valley National Park and ended up killing a member of one of the world's rarest fish species. Tumbling over the security fence and shooting the cameras, the drunkards threw their empty beer cans and the remains of their stomach into the water. One individual even left his boxers behind during the ill-fated escapade. Killing one pupfish, the men's actions also damaged the species' food sources and egg-laying sites.
Sands of Time
Wanting to take some of their beach-day vacay with them, a French couple attempted to take home 14 plastic bottles (roughly 88 pounds) worth of sand from Sardinia. Unaware of the Italian laws protecting the beach's sand, the tourists face up to six years in prison and / or a fine of $3,300 for their actions.
Ignoring the high fire risk warning, two Scottish teens decided to journey to Isle de Sa Porrassa in 2015 and share a smoke in the island's dry grass. Over five acres were destroyed in the fiery blaze, wiping out the habitat of the island's black lizards. Surprisingly, no charges were filed and the inferno was "treated as an accident" by local officials.
The Pyramid Scheme
The Great Pyramids of Giza were vandalized by two German men posing as archeologists in an effort to prove their "conspiracy theory" that the monuments were actually built by the people of Atlantis. Accompanied by a filmmaker, the "hobbyists" planned to make a documentary which featured their smuggling exploits. Both men were charged for their crimes as well as several Egyptian guards and inspectors from the Antiquities Ministry who allowed the team access to the normally restricted area.
Living the High Life
On New Year's Day in 2017, the city of Los Angeles woke up to the sight of one of their most historic landmarks sporting a very odd misspelling. The night before, security camera's caught a black-clad vandal altering the Hollywood sign to spell "HOLLYWeeD." A similar incident, most likely inspiring this one, occurred in December 1983.
Will to Be Weird
Gravesites have always been popular sites for desecration but perhaps none has been vandalized as hard as that of Jim Morrison. Since 1973, fans and tourists alike have flocked to the grave to pay their respects while others left more permanent signs of their visit. Heavily graffitied, the site was targeted by a thief in 1988 who stole a bust of the musician from the headstone. Due to the overwhelming acts of defacement, the family hired a private security guard to patrol the grave.
Claim to Fame
Social media-savvy sleuths were able to track down and publicly shame a 15-year old boy who defaced The Temple of Luxor by scribbling "Ding Jinhao was Here" on the 3,500-year old artwork. The child's parents argued their ignorance regarding public graffiti led them to not take disciplinary action and pleaded with Internet users to "not hound" their son for his mistake.
Follow for Follow
Seeking to expand her follower count, hitchhiker Casey Nocket toured the National Parks in the Southwest and left behind self-portraits and links to her social media accounts. Her promotional vandalism stretched from Crater Lake, Zion, the Joshua Tree, to Death Valley. Thankfully, Reddit followed the trail and exposed the Insta-famous tagger leading to her arrest and banishment from all US National Parks.
A Finnish tourist was fined $17,000 for chipping off an earlobe from the infamous Moai sculptures on Easter Island in 2008. The structures have also been subjected to poor photography with tourists framing themselves to look like they're picking the statue's nose (similar to tourists holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa).
When in Rome
The Roman Colosseum has experienced its fair share of vandalism over the years with countless tourists carving their initials and names into the monument. A Russian tourist was given a $24,800 fine for carving the letter "K" into the structure in 2014. In 2018, one tourist was caught trying to steal a brick from one of the inside walls while another tried to make off with a stone from the outer columns.
(Dis)Respect Our Troops
Various Vietnam memorial sites have been desecrated by vandals over the years due to political uproar or just ignorant recklessness. This year, a memorial in Boston was tagged with swastikas and hate-speech. In Los Angeles, a 24-year old tagger known as "Liter" sprayed his moniker across the wall and was sentenced to four years in prison.
It appears no site is safe from reckless tourists, even one drenched in tragedy and violence. The Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp became the target of an American tourist's attempt to steal pieces of the train tracks where millions of Jewish people were unloaded and sentenced to death. In 2009, someone made off with the Nazi slogan sign "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Will Set You Free) from the main gate which was later found cut into pieces.